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Largest town council in England to be established ahead of move to unitaries in county

Northampton is to set up England’s largest town council ahead of local government reorganisation in the county.

Elections for the new Northampton Town Council will be held on 7 May.

Danny Moody, chief executive of the county branch of the National Association of Local Councils, said: “The new town council will give [residents] a voice when the existing borough council is dissolved to make way for the unitary council.

“West Northamptonshire [unitary] Council will be able to concentrate on strategic matters such as adult social care and highways, and the town council can concentrate on what matters most to the local community of Northampton.”

Separate local councils will be created for the borough’s Kingsthorpe and Far Cotton areas.

Wellingborough Borough Council has decided to create a new town council for Wellingborough from April and Mr Moody said the towns of Kettering and Corby were expected to do so in 2021.

Northampton also approved an additional budget of £100,000 to cover costs already incurred on a consultation and those for implementation of the new councils.

Reorganisation is due in 2021 following the financial collapse of Northamptonshire County Council in 2018, when it was forced to take the rare step of issuing a section 114 notice to restrict spending, later followed by a second such notice.

Government-appointed inspector Max Caller concluded the county council could not be made viable and that both it and the county’s districts should be abolished and two new unitary councils created.

Under this plan the new North Northamptonshire will comprise Kettering, Corby, East Northamptonshire and Wellingborough, while West Northamptonshire will cover Daventry, Northampton and South Northamptonshire.

Mark Smulian